DR. BENJAMIN LORD
Greetings! Dr. Benjamin (Ben) Lord here. If you are looking at this page it stands to reason that you or a loved one are dealing with a difficult time. Maybe life circumstances have stacked up and become overwhelming, and you want help taking your emotions out of the driver’s seat so that you can think clearly and prioritize. Perhaps you are recognizing that you are “stuck” in a pattern of behavior that is unhealthy, and want help making different choices. Maybe you are just looking for a healthy change, or trying to figure out what is blocking you from achieving the goals that you have.
As a licensed psychologist, my work and my passion is to help people examine the ways that their lived history and current pattern of cognitive, emotional, and behavioral reactions move them either toward or away from their ultimate goals. My practice is based around the use of cognitive-behavioral (CBT) psychotherapy techniques within an overall interpersonal approach to human problems. I also enhance the therapy process by teaching concrete strategies for emotional health and physical wellbeing (such as relaxation training and meditation).
While I have been trained to work with a broad range of psychological complaints, I have particular expertise with helping people who are dealing with recurring mood issues such as depression and anger. My behavioral medicine background has also provided me with unique experiences for helping those who are struggling with medical issues including sleep disorders.
Every therapy relationship is unique and individualized, but my work with clients typically involves a few predictable steps or stages: During an initial visit we work together to identify and clarify just what it is in your life that is not going the way that you want. We discuss the changes that you are looking for in life and use this information to collaborate on treatment goals. From there, sessions involve a balance between exploring underlying issues which might explain the difficulty that you are having, and reviewing practical skills for managing stress, life, pain, or difficult emotions. My hope is that each patient with whom I have contact leaves treatment with both a deeper understanding of themselves, as well as new mental/emotional habits that make managing life that much easier.
MOOD DISORDER SPECIALIZATION
Depression comes in many shapes and sizes. Many of us will experience periods of sadness and loss of energy following a stressful life event or major life change. Sometimes this feeling is fleeting and resolves on its own, while in certain cases it may persist and become the “new normal.” For some people, these episodes can come out of the blue without a clear reason. For others, feeling down, blue, and disconnected on a constant or recurring basis is all they have ever known. I work with clients across the spectrum of mood disorders to assist clients to learn not only the causes, but also the maintaining factors that prevent negative mood states from resolving naturally. Treatment often involves exploration of what is important in one’s life, examination of patterns of negative self-talk and their sources, practical goals related to reengaging in life and gaining confidence in your ability to achieve things, and learning and internalizing stress management habits to inoculate you from letting life get you down. While each case is different, the end goal is to learn the skills that allow us to visualize success, experience hope, and access positive emotions and expectations. This skills-based approach is effective not only for resolving a period of depression, but also to prepare one to prevent future depressive episodes.
Additionally, it is my belief that for some people depressive episodes manifest not as sadness or exhaustion, but rather as irritability, anger, or agitation. If you are feeling restless and dissatisfied with life, chronically dissatisfied in relationships, or feel that your reactions to aggravating situations are unhelpful, it is possible that these are manifestations of a depressive episode.
COPING WITH CHRONIC DISEASE SPECIALIZATION
“Chronic Diseases” are medical issues which have no direct cure, but rather have to be managed in the long-term with medication or other types of medical interventions. Common examples include, diabetes, obesity, migraine headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, and various pain disorders (low back pain for example). Understandably (though unfortunately), these medical issues can have emotional and behavioral consequences. Individuals who are forced to adapt their lives to accommodate a medical problem often find that it can be frustrating, discouraging, embarrassing, or overwhelming. I believe that psychotherapy can play a key role in helping people to live their best and fullest lives despite the presence of a medical issue. When working with clients who are suffering from medical illnesses, I take the approach of blending symptom-management methods, general wellness interventions, and existential exploration. My goal is to both provide practical tools to help people feel better physically (through obtaining sufficient rest, learning to relax the body, or focusing the mind in a healthy way through meditation or visualization) as well as facilitate the deep work of grieving the loss of a previous lifestyle, establish new habits, and re-think what it means to be a fully functioning individual.
SLEEP DISORDER SPECIALIZATION
Sleep is an interesting phenomenon, being both a biological imperative but also quite elusive for many of us in the modern world. Insomnia (the medical term for an inability to obtain sufficient rest, either due to tossing and turning when trying to fall asleep, or due to waking up throughout the night feeling restless) is both common, and incredibly frustrating. The good news is that for the vast majority of individuals experiencing restless nights or insufficient sleep, change is possible. My training in a treatment program known as “CBT-I” (cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia) has allowed me to help people obtain healthy, “solid” sleep without medication despite years or even decades of disordered sleeping. Insomnia treatment typically involves a combination of education, habit changes, stress management, and a frank discussion of the problematic emotions that arise when one has chronic difficulty obtaining sleep. I work with patients to track sleep patterns and habits, and to make behavioral changes that allow them to “retrain” their brains to sleep in a consolidated fashion to obtain deep sleep. I also assist with sleep problems that arise as side-effects of other disorders, such as sleep apnea, PTSD, or depression.
OTHER ADULT PSYCHOTHERAPY SPECIALTIES
Life Transitions and Adjustment Issues
Assertiveness and Effective Communication Skills
Relaxation Training/Guided Imagery
Health Behavior Change (weight management, lifestyle changes for diabetes)
Dr. Lord is available for brief phone consultation to determine if an appointment is the right choice and to discuss a plan for treatment. He can be reached directly at 813-551-8230.